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Amnesty for unrest to coincide with verdict of 1971 Ballymurphy shootings investigation | UK News

A coroner will publish his findings on Tuesday in the deaths of 10 civilians shot dead when British troops opened fire at Ballymurphy, west of Belfast in 1971.

It comes on the same day the government is expected to confirm its plan to end the historic prosecution in Northern Ireland and impose an effective amnesty.

The proposed statute of limitations for offenses committed prior to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement is bitterly disappointing for those close to Ballymurphy’s victims.

Where the first six victims were shot in Ballymurphy
Where the first six victims were shot in Ballymurphy

Among the dead were a Roman Catholic priest who had just given another victim the last rites, two teenagers and a mother of eight children.

The investigation, which lasted 16 months, heard from more than 100 witnesses, including 60 former British soldiers and 30 civilians.

In August 1971, North Ireland was in turmoil – a decision to detain IRA suspects without trial has fueled serious unrest.

There were reports of a shootout between paratroopers and terrorists at Ballymurphy in West Belfast, but none of the victims were armed.

Five months later, the same Parachute Regiment battalion shot dead 14 people in Londonderry on the day known as Bloody Sunday.

Where Eddie Doherty was killed

Briege Voyle, whose mother Joan Connolly was one of Ballymurphy’s victims, said his last words were: “The army won’t shoot you.”

“They could see very easily that she was a woman and… the first blow was aimed at her face. For me, it’s personal, ”she added.

John Taggart’s father Daniel, who was shot 14 times, was one of four people killed on the same small plot of land.

Struggling to contain his emotion, he remembers having to listen to the evidence: “It was really hard for us to get through that, really hard.”

The question of Northern Ireland’s troubled past still dominates its present – some victims would settle for the truth, but others would continue to demand justice.

Author Brian …

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This notice was published: 2021-05-10 14:19:00